While most of the hype surrounding Apple is centered around the iPhone 7 these days, more information about Apple’s plans in the automotive industry has been unveiled. Bloomberg has the news.
“Apple Inc. has hired the former head of BlackBerry Ltd.’s automotive software division as new leadership at the iPhone-maker’s car team places increased emphasis on developing self-driving technology, according to people familiar with the project.”
The article adds that Dan Dodge, the former chief executive of QNX (Blackberry acquired the operating system developer in 2010), joined Apple early this year. His team is headed by Bob Mansfield, who is the head of the Apple Car initiative, tentatively titled “Project Titan.” There has been a major shift in the strategy.
“The initiative is now prioritizing the development of an autonomous driving system, though it’s not abandoning efforts to design its own vehicle. That leaves options open should the company eventually decide to partner with or acquire an established car maker, rather than build a car itself. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.”
“Apple is said to have hundreds of employees working on creating an electric vehicle at a secret location near its Cupertino headquarters. Little is known about the car, but sources have suggested early prototypes may resemble a minivan,” Mac Rumors pointed out a couple months back, still believing that Apple itself will make the car.
Mac Rumors and other sites say that that Apple is working on self-driving software for its car or operating system. Like Bloomberg, the website published an article about Dodge’s hiring. The commenters after the article are pretty excited, though some have reservations.
“To me, the actual prospect of an electric vehicle from Apple is the least interesting thing about this project. Where it really shines is the potential for advancement in regards to all the technology and infrastructure surrounding the vehicle,” says Invisiblegt.
“This guy is an incredible asset. Glad Apple were [sic] able to keep him and put him to good use,” says Ericthehalfbee.
Many Twitter users are cynical about Apple’s foray into the automotive industry.
Perhaps Apple’s sway into the automotive industry can help earn the Cupertino company back some of the mojo it has lost recently. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has recently taken a hit on its earnings.
“Apple Inc. said its quarterly profit fell 27% as the company grappled with the first prolonged slump in iPhone sales since the product was introduced in 2007. Revenue fell for a second straight quarter, along with sales of its flagship smartphone, which is awaiting an expected refresh in September.”
The article adds that although Apple reported strong sales on the smaller iPhone SE that was released in March, its current models — in general — have failed to meet the huge sales of previous iPhones. Part of this has to do with customers holding on to handsets longer (rather than upgrading) due to changes in carrier contracts.
However, the smartphone industry isn’t the only one in which Apple is not living up to expectations with. Sales of the Apple Watch have been okay, but completely failed to meet expectations. The same can be said about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the 9.7-inch one as well. Still, many believe it’s way too early to count Apple out and that the Cupertino company can make a comeback — something it has done several times in the past 30 years.
[Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images]